On the final day of the German Short Course National Championships, Britta Steffen had another great performance in the 50 free to win in 24.17, though in that particular event she’s been a tenth faster this year at the Berlin World Cup meet. That swim isn’t quite as strong as her 100 time from earlier in the meet, which was the best in the world, but might be an indicator that she’s got even more speed to give at the upcoming European Championships. Either way, this caps the most (relatively) successful meet for Steffen since her hiatus from the sport in 2010.
Close behind her was her Neukolln Berlin teammate Dorothea Brandt in 24.67, which is a season-best time and moves her to 16th in the world.
On the men’s side, breaststroker Marco Koch finally showed his true form (for the first time in a fatigue-filled meet) with an impressive 2:05.76 win in the 200 breaststroke, his best event. He’s still been faster at this meet, but that gave him a strong, 5-second victory.
Paul Biedermann, the star of the German men’s team, won the 400 free in 3:42.57. Though he’s been a lot faster this season, this was clearly a swim designed to focus on racing strategy – he negative-split each 100 after the first, and the only thing missing from a 3:40 was his typically huge closing 50.
In the women’s version of that 400, young sprinter Silke Lippok stretched her performance into the 400 free in 4:06.96, the 2nd-best time of her career (and season). Though her stature (at only 5’5″) might indicate that she’d move more towards the middle-distances, she’s truly more of a sprinter who moves up very well into the 200. It’s going to be tough for her to compete in the 50 at the senior level, though she was a Junior European Champion in the race, so she probably fits best into a new trend of 100-200 freestylers that is developing.
Lippok would come back later in the meet and take her second 17-year-old National Age Record, this time with a runner-up performance in the 100 back in 59.71. That cuts more than a second-and-a-half from her career-best time in an event where she was previously an unknown quantity. The winner in that swim was Jenny Mensing in 59.31.
In the women’s 200 breaststroke, two National Age Records went down in the final. Fittingly, 18-year old Vanessa Grimberg took down an age-group mark in 2:24.39 for the National Title (Germany doesn’t have a great tradition of women’s 200 breaststrokers), and 17-year old Laura Simon took down her mark in 2:24.91 for 2nd. Both swimmers took down the swimmer that hold the country’s all-time best mark, Caroline Runhau,who took 3rd in 2:25.19.
More Age Group Records (it was a good day for teenagers) went down in the men’s 100 back, with Christian Diener marking a 52.14 to clear the 18-year olds record. That puts him in the top-25 in the world, and continues to put pressure on the inconsistent Helge Meeuw for the top-backstroker spot in the strong German medley.
The men’s 50 free was a great shootout, with the top three finishers all breaking 22-seconds (not as impressive as it would be in long course, but still a solid race). Steffen Deibler (the elder Deibler brother) took the win in 21.57 that ranks 11th in the World this year. Close behind him was Marco di Carli in 21.83, and upset 100-meter winner Christoph Fildebrandt in 21.98.
And finally, not to be overlooked in the last individual event, Dorothea Brandt won the women’s 100 IM in 1:00.53. This is an event that she is rightfully very good at (she’s a strong sprinter in all of the 50-meter disciplines). That’s by two seconds a season-best for her and pushes her into the top-15 in the world.
That wraps up the 2011 German Short Course Nationals. Next up for this team will be a few appearances at the Duel in the Pool in Atlanta, USA, and for others will be a quick turnaround for the European Short Course Championships.